Optic disc hemorrhage in glaucoma: pathophysiology and prognostic significance

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Purpose of review

This article reviews the recent findings with regard to the pathophysiology and clinical significance of optic disc hemorrhage in glaucoma.

Recent findings

Even though the pathophysiology of disc hemorrhage has been investigated in depth, its underlying mechanism remains unclear. The key disc hemorrhage mechanisms currently under discussion are mechanical vascular disruption and associated vascular susceptibilities. Recent technical advances in spectral-domain optical coherence tomography have yielded more compelling evidence of mechanical vascular disruption behind the pathogenesis of disc hemorrhage in glaucoma. Studies show that disc hemorrhage is associated with structural and functional glaucoma progression. Furthermore, recent findings suggest that disc hemorrhage can have different significances according to its location, recurrence, and associated underlying mechanism.


The underlying mechanism of disc hemorrhage is complex like that of glaucoma. The ongoing controversy respecting the role of disc hemorrhage as a risk factor for glaucoma progression notwithstanding, special attention entailing closer follow-up and/or treatment escalation is recommended for patients with disc hemorrhage. Further studies investigating the unrevealed pathogenesis of disc hemorrhage and its prognostic value in glaucoma are warranted.

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